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  • Writer's pictureSam Orlando

Charlottesville IT Employee Files Lawsuit Alleging Discrimination and ADA Violations

Written by: Sam Orlando

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA – Jared Ethan West, a former IT Support Specialist with the City of Charlottesville, has filed a federal lawsuit against the city and several officials, alleging employment discrimination and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The complaint, filed on April 25, 2024, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, details a series of events following Mr. West's disclosure of his epilepsy and associated conditions, which he claims led to his unfair dismissal.

According to the lawsuit, Mr. West's troubles began after he experienced a seizure at work on January 13, 2022. Despite previous commendations for his work performance, the filing suggests that his relationship with his supervisors changed significantly after he requested accommodations for his disability. These accommodations included a modified work schedule and the ability to work from home as needed.

The complaint alleges that instead of receiving the necessary support, Mr. West faced retaliation, including reprimands and eventual placement on administrative leave. He was required to submit excessive medical documentation to return to work, a process that he describes as both humiliating and unnecessary.

Mr. West was terminated on March 18, 2022, a decision he attributes directly to his disability and the requests he made for reasonable accommodations. He is seeking reinstatement, back pay, compensation for emotional distress, and changes to the city’s policies on disability accommodations.

The defendants in the case, including IT Director Steve Hawkes, IT Operations Manager Maria Weiss, and Human Resources representative Flora Kelly-Bertsche, have not publicly commented on the allegations.

This case highlights ongoing issues surrounding workplace discrimination and disability rights, prompting a call for stricter enforcement of the ADA and better employer education on accommodating disabled employees. Was the City of Charlottesville unreasonable in not extending West's requested accommodations, or was West's employment with the City appropriately terminated for cause? That decision, it seems likely, may land in the hands of a federal jury.

The Plaintiff has requested a trial by jury in this case. Stay tuned to Breaking Through News for more information on the case as the defendants file their responses to West's complaint.

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